This is a cover for Melange Books.
I really enjoyed putting this one together, especially given that so much of it was playing with how the textures interacted and overlapped. This was a case where the art form gave me enough detail to give me an idea what kind of mood I needed to convey, and the kind of symbolism that might work well, but gave me a bit of free reign as to what I actually did. The result? I had an idea almost immediately that I wanted to try, though it was a while before I had a chance to work on the actual cover.
Of course, the auto-align function in Photoshop CS6 came in helpful as usual, and I also played with various filters and masking to achieve the final effect. One thing to keep in mind when playing with filters, especially if you’re starting with a proof, is that it can be really helpful to name the layer you worked on with what filter you used, and the basic numbers you input into that filter. That way you achieve the same, or a similar effect on the final image. 🙂
Stock images from: Dreamstime.
This is a cover for Melange Books.
We played with a few ideas for this cover, and ultimately, we decided to keep to the cover theme of three books going into this anthology. Like the others, only one photograph was used in the main picture, but I did do quite a bit of color changing to match up the characters and horses. Both the horses had their colors changed, the brown horse got a mane, and the two girls had their hair darkened to a brown. I even tweaked the ears on the brown horse a bit, and thus had to play with the background sky. If you do photomanipulation, don’t forget that you can use digital illustration techniques to edit a single image without changing a whole lot else. 🙂
Stock photography from: Dreamstime.
This is a cover for Melange Books.
Sometimes the trick in creating images isn’t creating your own image completely from scratch, but combining images and making them look like they’re all part of one logo. For example, the lion crest was its own stock image, but I added the swords in separate. However, I wanted them to look like part of the image, so I erased parts of the swords where they met up with the crest. The result was that it looks like its all part of one piece.
Meanwhile, it’s been a while since I’ve added a logo to fabric material, and I remembered there are a few tricks in Photoshop to do it. Though I didn’t use any one tutorial specifically, these are a few I glanced over before creating the flag image:
This one has some neat tips and reminders (though I only skimmed the video with the sound off). http://www.photoshoproadmap.com/links/go/8308/
This is more of what I was trying to find initially, using displacement maps. http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/texture-map/
Stock images from Dreamstime.
This is a cover for Melange Books, the next in the T.J. Jackson Mysteries.
For this cover, the author already had a pretty good idea of what he wanted, and he even had images of the park he wanted used for the background. However, since it was a recognizable building, I did have the author check on the need for a property release. (Just like models, many buildings and areas require property releases. It’s a good idea to check before shooting in an area to see if you’ll need one). The author was able to get permission, and so we were able to proceed with that image.
I also ended up doing a bit of digital illustration (Photoshop CS6) to piece everything together. Since we wanted a very specific pose, and the author had the outfit necessary, he had a friend model for him and shoot the image, and then I picked out the stock images of the man’s head to best fit the character. I added in a different sky, since we wanted sunset, and we tried to mimic the baseball text for the title itself.
Side note: Since most of these covers have been revealed by the time I post them, and since I usually try to post behind the scenes information when I reveal the covers on my blog, I’m going to start calling these posts “Behind the Scenes” instead of “Cover Reveal.” Sorry for any confusion. 🙂
Stock Photos from Dreamstime:
All other images provided by author. Photograph of Doubleday Field used with permission.
This is a cover I edited for Barking Rain Press. In this case, they already had the main image they wanted, and they had the cool text placement in the cross hairs. However, they wanted me to do the final touches and adjust the sizing and such. So, after a bit of playing around with effects, I ended up playing the the motion blur and radial blur filters to add a sense of movement and disorientation. I also played with blurring and retouching the background so our main focus would be on the woman, and I played with the overall lighting. This is the end result. 🙂
A cover for Melange Books.
This is another example where I changed the hairstyle of the person in the stock photo. The image I used had long hair, but we needed short, curly hair to better fit the main character. In this case, I started by using the Patch tool and Clone brush tool in Photoshop CS6 to fill in the background where the hair had been previously, then tweaked it using layers to smooth out where her shoulders where. Then, on a new layer, I used the smudge tool. First a softer, but larger size for the over all shape of the hair, and then a smaller, harder brush to give it the little details in the hair. Then I created another layer to sharpen it and lowered the opacity to make it look a little more natural. Viola. New hairstyle.
This is also a case where I ended up using a discarded cover proof from another project. A while back I’d tested this image and text placement (different font, though) for a different romance cover, but the author and I ultimately chose something different. However, when I read the art form for A Thousand Sunsets, this proof came back to mind. So I asked the publisher if they’d mind me recycling the proof (since we hadn’t used it), and I did check with the author, but it turned out to be what they were looking for. So… without further ado, the cover for A Thousand Sunsets:
Stock Image from Dreamstime:
Little side note; I had fun highlighting the faces with a very faint heart-shaped overlay. It’s not super-visible, but it’s there. 🙂
Another cover for Melange Books. Today I talk about how photomanipulation is like a puzzle. 🙂
This was a case where character creation was useful. The author requested that we have the little girl sitting on the other character’s lap, who is dressed as Santa. In this case, I didn’t have much luck finding the perfect picture from the main stock site I used, so I wound up putting a few photos together to create the resulting image. Found a guy dressed in a Santa suit who matched the description– changed his hair color. Gave him a slight smile. Found a Santa hat. Found a little girl sitting cross-legged in pajamas– helpful. Found a sitting Santa to use for the lap… and used puppet warp on the arm. Found a background. Put everything together, and voila! Photomanipulation is a bit like putting together puzzle pieces, but it helps to have an idea of what the pieces look like before starting the search to find the right one. Kind of like finding the corner pieces first and working your way into the puzzle from there.
Stock Photos from Dreamstime:
This is a wrap around cover I did for Barking Rain Press.
(You can find the book here: http://www.barkingrainpress.org/dd-product/slip-sliding-away/ ).
(See a larger version on my Deviant Art Account: http://sbibb.deviantart.com/art/Slip-Sliding-Away-Cover-394872911 )
For this particular cover, I actually did a photoshoot (three, to get the angle and items right) of my own. The publisher wanted a desk with the drink on it and the photos, and when I first started trying to put it together with stock, I realized I’d have a much easier time if I just set the shoot up myself (especially since we’d just finished that dresser…. which worked well for a desk setting). I set up the glass, notepad, and alarm clock, as well as used an empty picture frame and two gift cards to hold the place for the photos. (Note to self: Next time someone has the stock photos they want used already picked out, just print them off and put directly in the image… it’ll save editing time later). I also changed the card reflections to that of the stock photos (from Shutterstock). For the alarm clock, I quickly discovered the numbers weren’t going to appear on their own (same reason you can’t have your shutter speed faster than 1/200 or you get a black line through your image). We had considered using a digital font for the numbers on the clock, but I found the LEDs just faintly showed in the image, had so I used the overlay tools to bring out the parts I needed.
I also changed the color of the overall image so it’d look more like night (I played with in-camera color settings, but found Photoshop was a bit more versatile for me). I did try to angle the lights (Alien Bees) so they’d look more like a lamp or low window.
Today we have another cover for Melange Books. This one was fun to do, largely in part because of playing with expression to achieve the mood I wanted to convey. For example, take a look at this stock photo: (http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-female-health-care-worker-image22294246) and compare her expression to the final cover. Liquefy filter and puppet warp tool in Photoshop– extremely useful. I made it so she no longer had as wide of a smile (based on the description of the book, I didn’t think a super cheerful tone would be in the cover’s best interest). Once I eliminated the teeth, I raised the chin, tweaked the corners of her eyes and lips, and even changed the nose and wrinkles of the cheeks just slightly to achieve the desired effect.
The other big edit that came for this one was using multiple pictures for the guy in front. Since he was supposed to be in a hospital gown, I had to add that in, which meant I needed to show more of his back. As a result, I merged three different images together to create the final picture.
And, on a final note: When you need a certain angle but the stock photo cuts off too soon on the person, the strategic placement of colorful title bars can prove useful. 🙂
Stock photos from: Dreamstime:
Another cover for Melange Books. For this one, I got to have a bit of fun with piece-parting images together (we wanted a very specific kind of cane with the older man, and part of it I digitally illustrated), as well as manipulating expression. (If you look at the original image for the vampire, she has a slightly different expression. Eyes, eyebrows, and mouth changed position slightly to get the effect I was wanting for the cover. Goes to show that the liquefy and puppet warp tools can both be extremely helpful when you’re trying to achieve a specific mood. Also helpful when you have a stock image that is almost what you want, but not quite right. 🙂
Stock from Dreamstime: